Tag Archives: Google

Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut ‘Foundational’ Digital Rights Law

“Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Rights advocates warn weakening Section 230 would disproportionately silence and endanger “marginalized communities including LGBTQ+ people, Black and Brown folks, sex workers, journalists, and human rights activists around the world.” Photo: Public domain

Digital rights advocates responded with alarm to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday decision to take up a case that could enable right-wing justices to gut Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Section 230 is a foundational and widely misunderstood law that protects human rights and free expression online,” said Fight for the Future director Evan Greer in a statement late Monday. Continue reading

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‘Big Win’: Google Search and Maps Will Now Say If Clinics Provide Abortions

The update is “a big deal for users who’ve been misled by pregnancy crisis centers masquerading as abortion providers,” said Alphabet Workers Union. “But not enough—Google must *remove* these misleading results.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Hundreds of Google workers have endorsed a petition urging Alphabet to stop supporting right-wing politicians and groups attacking reproductive freedom. (Photo: Democracy Now!/screenshot)

Pro-choice U.S. lawmakers and other critics of Google’s abortion-related search results welcomed the tech giant’s Thursday announcement of changes to better serve users seeking healthcare in a post-Roe v. Wade world.

In a letter to congressional Democrats and a statement to media outlets, Alphabet-owned Google reiterated its efforts to combat misleading advertisements and search results along with confirming that the company will clearly label whether medical facilities provide abortions. Continue reading

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Surveillance is pervasive: Yes, you are being watched, even if no one is looking for you

Video cameras on city streets are only the most visible way your movements can be tracked.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Peter Krapp, University of California, Irvine

The U.S. has the largest number of surveillance cameras per person in the world. Cameras are omnipresent on city streets and in hotels, restaurants, malls and offices. They’re also used to screen passengers for the Transportation Security Administration. And then there are smart doorbells and other home security cameras.

Most Americans are aware of video surveillance of public spaces. Likewise, most people know about online tracking – and want Congress to do something about it. But as a researcher who studies digital culture and secret communications, I believe that to understand how pervasive surveillance is, it’s important to recognize how physical and digital tracking work together. Continue reading

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Why are so many big tech whistleblowers women? Here is what the research shows

The vast majority of high-profile big tech whistleblowers in recent years have been women.
Elke Meitzel/Image Source via Getty Images

Francine Berman, UMass Amherst and Jennifer Lundquist, UMass Amherst

A number of high-profile whistleblowers in the technology industry have stepped into the spotlight in the past few years. For the most part, they have been revealing corporate practices that thwart the public interest: Frances Haugen exposed personal data exploitation at Meta, Timnit Gebru and Rebecca Rivers challenged Google on ethics and AI issues, and Janneke Parrish raised concerns about a discriminatory work culture at Apple, among others.

Many of these whistleblowers are women – far more, it appears, than the proportion of women working in the tech industry. This raises the question of whether women are more likely to be whistleblowers in the tech field. The short answer is: “It’s complicated.” Continue reading

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Reported End to Facebook’s ‘Murky’ Deals With News Giants Sparks Call for ‘Truly Fair Marketplace’

“We can’t allow our free press to be captured by tech monopolies,” warned one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: Simon Steinberger/CC

Press freedom and antitrust advocates on Friday derided both Facebook and corporate media beneficiaries of the tech titan’s multimillion dollar spending spree following reporting that the company is rethinking its investments amid increasing regulatory pressures and a shift away from news partnerships.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook in recent years has annually paid an average of more than $15 million to The Washington Post, as well as $20 million to The New York Times, and over $10 million to the Journal. The Journal deal is part of a larger $20 million agreement. Continue reading

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Rights Groups Accuse Tech Giants of Throttling Content on Abortion Pills

“More Americans are going to need accurate information on abortion,” said one communications director. “But these platforms have algorithms that surface the opposition and misinformation and misleading content.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-27-2021 by Common Dreams

As anti-choice lawmakers ramp up attacks on reproductive freedom across the United States, new reporting on Monday raised alarm about Big Tech companies limiting access to scientifically accurate content from abortion rights organizations while allowing the spread of misinformation.

Representatives from multiple pro-choice groups told The Hill‘s Rebecca Klar about their struggles trying to circulate credible information on accessing medication abortion—which typically involves two medicines, mifepristone and misoprostol—through platforms including Facebook and Google-owned YouTube. Continue reading

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Digital Rights Groups Hail Record €746 Million Amazon Data Privacy Fine

La Quadrature du Net, whose complaint led to the Luxembourg fine, called the penalty a “first step,” but said that “we need to remain vigilant” in the face of Amazon’s ongoing violations.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-30-2021

Amazon/AWS offices in Luxembourg. Photo: -wuppertaler, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Digital rights advocates on Friday applauded a €746 million fine levied against Amazon by a Luxembourg regulator for the tech giant’s violation of European Union data privacy laws.

The record penalty—which converts to about U.S. $886 million—was imposed on July 16 by CNPD, Luxembourg’s data protection agency, and disclosed in an Amazon regulatory filing (pdf) on Friday, according to Bloomberg. Continue reading

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Washington Post Publisher Says Biden DOJ ‘Intensified’ Trump-Era Attacks on Press Freedom

“The egregious acts by the outgoing Trump Justice Department, and the apparent doubling down on them during the Biden administration, should alarm all Americans, regardless of political persuasion.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-7-2021

The entrance to the Washington Post on 15th street Northwest DC. Photo: Dion Hinchcliffe/flickr/CC

In an opinion piece, the Washington Post‘s publisher on Sunday accused President Joe Biden’s Justice Department of exacerbating the Trump administration’s assault on press freedom and called for a “full accounting” of the Biden DOJ’s recent practices in order to prevent such a “brazen infringement of the First Amendment rights of all Americans” from happening again.

Recent reporting revealed that during the last days of then-President Donald Trump’s term, DOJ officials authorized subpoenas to secretly obtain the phone and email records of reporters at the PostCNN, and the New York Times. In the wake of the revelations, Biden last month condemned the unconstitutional actions taken by his predecessor’s Justice Department and vowed that his administration would protect the rights of journalists and, by extension, those of the public. Continue reading

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Privacy Champions Urge Passage of ‘Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale’ Act

“Intelligence and law enforcement agencies must come to understand that the American people are off limits to warrantless mass surveillance, no matter how it is done.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-21-2021

Phpto: Microsiervos/flickr/CC

Federal agencies have taken advantage of legal loopholes to collect massive amounts of personal information from cell phone and internet users without congressional or judicial authorization for years, but that practice is being challenged by a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers who introduced legislation on Wednesday that would prevent the U.S. government from buying individuals’ information from data brokers without a court order.

Led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a group of 20 senators introduced the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act (pdf) in the upper chamber of Congress. Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) also unveiled an equivalent bill in the House. Continue reading

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Facebook: Genocide is Cool but Don’t Threaten our Profits

“Facebook’s willingness to block credible news sources also stands in sharp distinction to the company’s poor track record in addressing the spread of hateful content and disinformation on the platform.” — Tim O’Connor, Amnesty International Australia

By Alan Macleod  Published 2-19-2021 by MintPress News

Photo: Anthony Quintano/flickr?CC

Australia’s 18 million Facebook users woke up yesterday to find that, without warning, local and global news sites were unavailable, meaning that they could not view or share news at all. Facebook users across the world were also unable to read or access any Australian news publications. The tech giant had taken the step of essentially shutting down its site and “unfriending” an entire nation in response to the government’s proposals to tax them.

Lawmakers in Canberra had drawn up plans to “level the playing field” between social media giants and the traditional press. In practice, this would mean Facebook and Google handing over a sizable chunk of their advertising profits to the government to subsidize struggling news outlets, on whom they depend for content. Continue reading

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